4 years on since Punjab drugs officer was murdered, her family still awaits justice

by The Technical Blogs


Four and a half years have passed since the tragic killing of 36-year-old Punjab FDA officer Neha Shoree, yet her family still awaits justice. Her father, Captain (retd) Kailash Kumar Shoree, a 1971 war veteran has been running from pillar to post to seek a fresh probe into the cold-blooded murder.

The family alleges that the Punjab Police mishandled the initial probe and deliberately overlooked critical evidence that could have led to the apprehension of the actual culprits, suspected to be members of the drug mafia responsible for this gruesome murder.

The police concluded their investigation by filing a closure report, asserting that no evidence implicating anyone other than the assailant, Balwinder Singh, was found. Balwinder Singh had taken his own life on the same fateful day, March 29, 2019, after killing Neha Shoree, who was serving as the Zonal Drug Licensing Authority in Kharar, Mohali.

The police claimed that Balwinder Singh, a resident of Morinda, Rupnagar, owned a chemist shop that had been subjected to an FDA raid in 2009. Neha, who, according to her family, was a probationary officer at the time, was part of the team that discovered Balwinder’s illicit sale of unauthorized drugs. Consequently, the FDA revoked his chemist shop’s license. Sources said that Balwinder had sought a new license in his wife’s name a decade later, only to be denied. The police theory contends that Neha Shoree was murdered out of personal animosity harbored by the accused against her.

Noha Shoree had reported Rs 100 crore Buprenorphine scam

Notably, Neha Shoree had filed an internal report on July 14, 2018, to the then Drug Controller, highlighting the misuse of Buprenorphine and other drugs by private drug de-addiction centers.

Her father, Captain Kailash Kumar Shoree, and other family members perceive this as the primary motive behind her murder, as corrupt politicians, police officials, and private drug de-addiction centers were allegedly profiting from the illegal sale of controlled drugs.

Investigations exposed that in 2019 alone, 23 private de-addiction centers in Punjab illicitly sold nearly five crore Buprenorphine tablets, amounting to a staggering Rs 100 crore, without any proper documentation. The drug was being misused for recreational purposes, as Buprenorphine is an opioid agonist with effects similar to opium. The Punjab Health Department’s findings revealed that 17 per cent of individuals enrolled in treatment programs were addicted to this drug.

Allegations had surfaced against the then Congress government, accusing them of attempting to cover up the Buprenorphine misuse case and refusing to cooperate with the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which was conducting its investigation. The state government declined to provide the purchase and dispensation records for Buprenorphine, and it was alleged that drug usage data had been manipulated by authorities and private de-addiction centers to mislead the investigating agency. This controversy even rocked the state assembly.

Neha Shoree’s family seek fresh probe

Neha Shoree’s parents have petitioned the Punjab and Haryana High Court for a CBI probe, alleging that the Punjab Police failed to conduct a thorough investigation. Captain Kailash Kumar Shoree, speaking to India Today, noted that the case had seen 20 to 22 hearings, most of which were adjourned.

“We had told the court that this was a double murder. The accused Balwinder killed Neha and he was killed by somebody else. Evidence shows that two different weapons were used to kill them. I have also offered the evidence,” Captain Shoree said. He also pointed out that the shape of the wounds found on the bodies of the victim and the accused was different.

“The wound found on Neha’s body was round as the revolver spun the bullets. But the wounds found on the assailant’s body were oval, which means a different weapon was used to kill him. The police theory is also suspicious which says the accused fired two bullets to kill himself. How can a person who has already shot himself fire another bullet? There were eight wounds on Neha’s body, how four bullets can create eight wounds is also beyond one’s imagination,” Kailash Shoree said.

The family further suspects police misconduct, alleging that the bullets used in both murders have disappeared. Additionally, data from Neha’s mobile phone and laptop were found erased, and her SIM card was missing. The police did not share call details from the victim’s and assailant’s mobile phones.

“Why were no arrests made? Why weren’t Neha’s colleagues questioned? Why was the FIR registered by a contractual employee? Why was her security ignored? Why wasn’t a forensic examination conducted? These are questions we posed to the police, but their answers did not satisfy us,” said Neha’s mother, Arun Shoree.

The family recounted the horrific incident, revealing that Neha Shoree was murdered in front of her six-year-old niece. Office staff and other employees were mysteriously absent when the shooting occurred.

“…Bullets were pumped into the chest of my daughter. We also met the then chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh…We had demanded a CBI probe, but Captain Amarinder Singh formed an SIT. We do not trust the Punjab Police. They gave us the false assurances. We asked for the facts when we were called by the police twice. My daughter was killed in broad daylight but not even a single person was arrested,” Arun Shoree said.

Punjab police officials who led the initial investigation and the then Punjab Health Minister Brahm Mohindra were unavailable for comment on allegations made by Neha Shoree’s father.

Published On:

Sep 12, 2023


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